Pesticides are chemicals used to destroy, prevent or control pests. However, these products can be very harmful if used the wrong way. Pesticides commonly used in and around the home are herbicides (weed killers), fungicides (fungi killers), rodenticides (rat and mice killers), and insecticides (insect killers). Pesticides are also used in schools, parks and other public places. They come in many different forms: aerosols, sprays, dusts, granular materials or baits. Legally, all pesticide labels must include the following: product name, manufacturer name, active chemical ingredients, type of chemical (herbicide, insecticide, etc.), recommendations for specific use, directions for use, precautions, first-aid instructions, and storage and disposal information.

Tips to Prevent Pesticide Poisoning

  • Always read label before using a pesticide and follow the directions carefully.
  • Store all pesticides in a well-ventilated cabinet and out of the reach and sight of children and pets.
  • Never put pesticides in cabinets where food, medical supplies or cleaning materials are stored.
  • Always keep pesticides in their original containers and never remove the label.
  • Before treating an area with a pesticide remove any toys, food, furniture and dishes; wait until the treated area is dry before returning the items.
  • If you must mix or dilute the chemicals, do this outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
  • Always clean up any spills right away.
  • Apply pesticides only under acceptable weather conditions; never spray or dust outdoors on a windy day.
  • Do not place insect or rodent baits where children or pets can get to them.
  • Read the label for instructions on proper disposal. It is the law to follow these instructions. Empty pesticide containers can be as dangerous as full ones because of the residue left in them.
  • Never pour unused amounts of pesticide down the drain.
  • Wash hands and all body parts exposed to the pesticide with soap and water after each use.
  • If you suspect a pesticide poisoning or have any questions, call the Georgia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 or 404-616-9000.